Windermere: folklore and myths

Content from the National Trust website with comments from the mintcake miners.

There have been many visitors to Windermere in history, not all of them earthbound!

The haunting of Calgarth Hall
This sixteenth century manor house was owned by Kraster Cook and his wife Dorothy. Their neighbour was local Justice of the Peace Myles Philipson who wanted to buy the house, but the Cooks didn't want to sell.

To get his hands on the property, Myles accused the Cooks of theft, judged them and condemned them to death. However before she died, Dorothy cursed Calgarth promising that their screaming skulls would haunt the Hall night and day until the Philipsons left and that the family would never prosper.

Two skulls did indeed take up residence in Calgarth, and despite many attempts to get rid of them, including throwing them into the lake, they always returned. Myles Philipson had to sell his land to pay off debts, leaving only Calgarth which his son sold after his death.

The skulls never appeared again. And in 1705 the last member of the Philipson family died.

Mintcake miners comment...
Calgarth is near the Lakes School and when we were pupils we just didn't go near it!

Gylpin's wild boar
In the 12th century a wild boar terrorised pilgrims who entered the woods between Kendal and Windermere. Richard de Gylpin killed the boar and was rewarded with the manor of Kentmere.

Mintcake miners comment...
There is a great inn called the Wild Boar on the "bottom" road from Bowness to Kendal.

The Crier of Claife
On stormy nights centuries ago, the ferrymen at Ferry Nab would often hear strange calls for the boat to come across the water but were too afraid to go. One night a young ferryman scoffed at their fears and rowed across. On his return whatever he had seen had terrified him so much that he couldn't speak, and the next day he died.

The local people asked a monk who lived on one of the islands in Windermere to exorcise the ghost. On Christmas Day he took a bell and bible across the lake, and confined the ghost to the quarry and woods "until men should walk dryshod across the lake".

To this day there are stories of walkers being followed by a hooded figure at dusk on the heights of Claife...

Mintcake miners comment...
You can walk from Bowness via the ferry to Wray Castle passing between Claife and the lake shore. It is a great walk but you are shouded by trees all the way and don't actually get to see much of the lake. Take one of the steep paths upwards and eventually you can reach the top of Claife Heights with fantastic views over Windermere and beyond. Lose the path and it is very easy to find yourself in some very dark woodland bordered on one side by a desolate wasteland created by loggers or the steep drop back down to the shore on the other. Definately not the place to be as it goes dark!

The white horse of Windermere
When harm is about to come to the neighbourhood around the lake, it is said a ghostly white horse walks on the water from shore to shore.

Mintcake miners comment...
"White horses in the bay" is how the Windermere boatmen describe a rough choppy lake.

The mysterious Tizzie-Wizzie

The Tizzie-Wizzie was allegedly first spotted by a Bowness boatman around 1900. He regaled tourists in the town’s Stag’s Head Hotel about his thrilling encounter with the extraordinary creature.

Shy, water-loving creatures, Tizzie-Wizzies are reputed to have the body of a hedgehog, the tail of a squirrel and a pair of bee-like wings.

Mintcake miners comment...
We remember an original photo of the Tizzie-Wizzie doing the rounds of Bowness in the 70's. One of the rowing boat managers had it in one of the boat huts (now rebuilt to look the same but without the rotten wood).